I just passed my ICND2 today with a score of 918!!! So happy, I want to share my story here for the benefit of anyone going for their CCNA.
This certification is not easy to get, I have spent an entire year studying for it and taking exams. I have spent longer attending Cisco network academy classes through my local college before attempting the certification exams. To anyone trying to get their CCNA, understand it requires knowledge, work, study, time and some failure. It is OK to fail a Cisco exam, keep trying, you will pass it eventually. I chose the 2 part exam path (ICND1 and 2) over the single comprehensive exam to make the process easier, I failed ICND1 twice, passed it on the third attempt, I failed ICND2 twice, passed it on the third attempt. I know how it feels to read the word fail; despondent is the best description I can think of. I think if I fail this again, I don’t know what to do; take it again and again but where do I change my program of study? Fortunately I passed and I want to tell others not to give up, work on difficult areas you are not so strong in.
I used Wendell Odom’s ICND 1 and 2 books along with the practice test software. I also printed out posters from packetlife.net which summarize topics nicely. After exhausting the practice questions I also used Boson software, I will say that you should do practice tests but do not overdo them; a mistake I realized I was making. If you can answer a question without fully reading it then you are only rehashing the same old piece of networking repeatedly.
There are other resources I found online: Netacad bridging course, forums like this one, cbtnuggets, networklessons.com, videos and of course self-study. Read, make notes, create your own topology in Packet Tracer from scratch, repeat some PT exercises from Cisco Netacad if you can, the best thing is real equipment if you have access to it. Practice is good and don’t study your strong areas, tackle the weak ones. You have to retake if you do fail, you cannot quit.